Monitoring Environmental Performance
Level 5
Appendix 5
Waste Disposal Legislation

Packaging Recovery & Recycling Legislation

Important provisions for the recovery and recycling of packaging waste are contained within The Environment Act 1995 (EA 1995). The first set of regulations to be made under section 93 of EA 1995 are the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 1997, which came into effect in March 1997

The regulations are designed predominantly to implement targets for the recovery and recycling of packaging waste as set out in the EU Directive 94/62/EC on Packaging and Packaging Waste (the Packaging Directive). The targets are obligations on the UK government, not companies or other organisations, but the government has chosen to implement the Directive through the imposition of targets directly on organisations that sell or supply packaging or packaged goods in the UK.

Recovery and recycling targets are being phased in gradually within the UK. Beginning in 1998, each organisation has had to prove that enough packaging waste is recovered or recycled to meet its obligations. These obligations (tonnes) are calculated on the basis of:

  • The recovery and recycling targets prescribed by the regulations.

  • The percentage activity obligation

  • The actual tonnage of packaging handled

The targets, that are set to rise gradually, are given below. The full target must be reached by 2001.

1998-99 7%
2000 11%
2001 16%
1998-99 38%
2000 43%
2001 52%